What are examples of simpler universes that have been described in order to explain a concept from our more complex universe?

post by Mati_Roy (MathieuRoy) · 2020-09-17T01:31:10.367Z · LW · GW · 2 comments

This is a question post.



Sometimes there's a concept that can be difficult to understand when entangle with everything else that needs to be understood about our physics.

If you isolate that concept in a simpler universe, it makes it easier to explain how the concept works.

What are such examples?

(I feel like I asked a similar question somewhere at some point, but can't find it)


answer by rhollerith_dot_com · 2020-09-20T18:04:28.490Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Euclidean geometry (which is 2500 years old), Newtonian physics and the special theory of relativity immediately come to mind.

answer by Mati_Roy · 2020-09-17T01:38:31.678Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Finally We May Have a Path to the Fundamental Theory of Physics…and It’s Beautiful explains some concepts from our universe in simpler universes

comment by Viliam · 2020-09-18T21:38:32.875Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Relevant comment here [LW(p) · GW(p)]:

I think Wolfram's "theory" is complete gibberish. Reading through "some relativistic and gravitational properties of the Wolfram model" I haven't encountered a single claim that was simultaneously novel, correct and non-trivial...
comment by Mati_Roy (MathieuRoy) · 2020-09-19T00:32:34.642Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My question is definitely not limited to novel models. By all means, do let me know if you're aware of other toy models that have (and so can explain) relativistic-like properties, or share other interesting properties with out universe

answer by Mati_Roy · 2020-09-17T01:35:01.021Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Where Physics Meets Experience [LW · GW], and it's sequel Where Experience Confuses Physicists [LW · GW] tackles questions about consciousness and quantum physics, but instead the minds split in a spatial dimension which makes it easier to grapple with.


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comment by Mati_Roy (MathieuRoy) · 2020-09-17T01:36:32.982Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I remember an explanation of entropy / time / whether we could figure out all previous and future states of a universe from its current position, but that was using a simple square grid world. I can't find it back; anyone knows?

comment by Pattern · 2020-09-17T17:09:20.238Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Was the grid world Conway's Game of Life?